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Foothills Adventures


This blog is to give you an insight to the goings on behind the scenes of my Foothill Rails website. The adventures of railfanning in Northern California and beyond for the purpose of expanding my site, the research, the inspirations and the frustrations, and the wonderful people who I get to meet. Also new ideas and any other thoughts that may arise.
Email at johnbarnhill@hotmail.com

  1. Sierra Angels Camp Branch

    As of late, it seems that the Angels Camp Branch of the Sierra RR had become the "in" thing to explore and document. Well lets just say, I wasn't to be left out. Taking advantage of the low water in the lakes, my girlfriend and I recently headed to New Melones Res to do some exploration of my own. I have previously visited this part of the line and built a page for the results on Foothill Rails but the drought in California has given me a unique opportunity to check out what is below ...
  2. Michigan-California Lumber Burns!

    Take Advantage of Opportunity

    That's the theme of this blog. Take advantage of opportunity.

    Once again, it's been some time since I've written a blog. For that matter it had been some time since I'd gotten out to railfan. Life, the loss of my old computer, and work updating my newest site, CLASS III Shortlines, have kept me away for a bit. No worries, the stuff I lost on that pc is totally recoverable and much will make up future Foothill Rails updates when I get ...

    Updated September 20th, 2014 at 02:40 AM by John Barnhill

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    Trip Reports , News & Events
  3. 'No Hands Bridge' Becomes Landmark

    I was at and part of the dedication on Sunday the 23rd as a member of the Mountain Quarries 100th Anniversary Committee. A nice one hour presentation and unveiling of the new plaque took place as well as a group photo taken on the bridge. I also took several photos and will be posting then in an upcoming update to the Foothill Rails site.

    John Barnhill


    ‘No Hands Bridge’ becomes landmark

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  4. An Enginehouse, A New Website, and More...

    Whilst writing the latest five blogs about my recent trip to Arizona, things have not been idle. Several small excursions have taken place and I've gotten to take over the administrative duties of another website.

    A few weeks ago, my other half Rachael and I were making a trip to Chico,CA to visit family. As you know if you've been reading along, I try and take advantage of every trip and get something for my railroading hobby out of it. This trip would prove no different. Feather Falls ...
  5. Kingman or Bust! Day 5, The Final Run

    Well, there's not much left of our trip; just the jaunt home from Mojave to Sacramento. As relayed in the blog about day one, we've pretty much obliterated the entire central valley of targets to photograph. Well, except that one! That one that has plagued us ever since it got here! We will get you! I swear it! We will get you! I'll get to that in just a bit though.

    As usual, a quick breakfast and a few quick UP shots in Mojave yard, then we are off! Tehachapi pass is unusually ...
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  6. Kingman or Bust! Day 4

    The day comes where we have to turn for home. So far this trip has turned out fantastic for meeting the photographic goals in mind. Turns out that our luck will continue to hold all the way to the end. As we have nailed down just about everything, a little dilly dallying could be allowed throughout the return run.

    Leaving Kingman, we notice once again all was quiet with the railroad. As we headed back west, not a thing was stirring. Sure we saw some trains but all were parked. Now whats ...
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    Trip Reports
  7. Kingman or Bust! Day 3

    Ahhhhh, it's time to relax and just do some casual mainline fanning. But wait, what's that? Silence. Well thats not good. We should be having an endless parade. Along the way to the airport, we notice a work gang just a ways away. Ok, thats whats going on. Well the first target is out and about this morning so we make short work of capturing images of the Kingman Terminal's entire roster. Ok, it's only two switchers but hey, the day is starting out with a perfect score.

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  8. Kingman or Bust. Day 2

    Though its not pristine high desert, there is nothing like sunrise in Mojave whilst on vacation. After a quick breakfast and a couple UP photos in the yard, Jeff throws out an idea I can't refuse. Trona! I'm all in! Now we've been there just once before and I was able to get some shots but they were through the fence and using film instead of digital. Hopefully we can do better this time around.

    We head out up through, if I recall correctly, Red Rock Canyon which was simply beautiful ...
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  9. Kingman or Bust! Day 1


    The Great Central Valley Turkey Shoot

    Several of you have read of the many long railfan trips my buddy Jeff and I take once, sometimes twice, a year. You've read of many adventures and maybe some mis-adventures. Well this years trip was to Kingman,AZ for a couple days and it came off in a most excellent way.

    As always, our first leg is leaving Sacramento heading down the central valley for a nights stay in Mojave. Along the stretch of Highway 99 are a number of industrial ...
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    Trip Reports
  10. Its Been Slow, Or Has It?

    Lately I havn't been too inspired to write much. Not sure why. I don't feel I have much of interest to write about. I'm not very motivated right now. Yet when I look back over the last couple, three, months things havn't been as slow or boring as I've felt. I'm glad I can let this project sit idle and then pick it up again later. So what have I been up to lately?

    My better half is just awesome! Back in July, for my birthday, I found two tickets for the steam trip on the Virginia ...
  11. All aboard, Historic Ione Train Depot rides the rails

    Thursday, 08 August 2013 21:01
    All aboard, Historic Ione Train Depot rides the rails


    On Thursday, on or about the noon hour, August 8, 2013, the City of Ione will be moving history. After living at its current location for just over 135-years, the historic Ione Depot departs from its old home to start a new life. Preservation of the historic icon started May 2010 with the exchange of $1 between Union Pacific Railroad and the City of Ione. It continues tomorrow with ...
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    News & Events
  12. Inclines, Ruins, A New Book, and More

    Yes, more Towle Brothers. Once again my fairer half and I have been out exploring the Towle Brothers. This time we went to look for the Texas Hill mill site known as Burnett Mill near Emigrant Gap. Traveling down forest road 19, the first stop was the standard guage connection to the Southern Pacific at Fulda. As I've explored this thoroughly previously, we didn't spend much time here. I was really after the narrow guage and the mill site. However, Fulda Flat is on the list of sites to hit.
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    Tags: towle bros
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  13. Trespassing!

    First let me state that I'm not promoting trespassing, however I may have a different view than many on this subject. I do believe absolutely in asking permission to enter property when a clear and present opportunity to ask is available. This might be someones backyard or an active industrial complex. On most if not all but once or twice, this has worked out spectacularly and I've been able to get into places most don't, just by asking. I've had fantastic luck and thank all those who have let me ...

    Updated May 7th, 2013 at 01:40 AM by John Barnhill

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  14. Towle Brothers or PG & E?

    A couple years back I stood on the supposed Towle right-of-way overlooking both Drum Forebay Rd and Interstate 80. I was trying to figure out how the Towle Bros line had gotten to this point from Towle. Supposedly they had come up Canyon Creek right where the freeway sits currently. Well, looking at it from where I was standing, I didn't like it and still don't. Its just the height differences and change of direction. The freeway didn't cut that much away! Well if one looks directly across I-80 ...
    Tags: towle bros
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  15. An Easter Shortline Run

    With our hike rained out this past Sunday, my gal and I went shortline hunting instead.

    First up, I was curious about whether Cal Northern GP15-1 #113 had been relettered back for CFNR after its return from the Mare Island Rail Service so Davis was first on the list. Sure enough, #113 was there along with #502 and #504 gensets. Also sure enough, she (113) has been relettered so a photo shoot ensued. Bingo right from the get go this trip is starting well.

    The Western ...
    Tags: cfnr, nvwt, nwp
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